This weekend kicks off a round of political debates for the highest-profile election races in Georgia this year. Democrat Michelle Nunn will be squaring off against the other contenders in her party for the U.S. Senate, and David Perdue will be doing the same on the Republican side.
With the legislative session squarely behind him and the bill-signing period over, Gov. Nathan Deal now heads out on the campaign trail. And he’s going to have to defend the measures he signed as well as those he vetoed.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill Tuesday that will allow for the construction of a statue to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on state Capitol grounds. Immediately afterward, he vetoed a bill governing how private companies oversee Georgia probationers. His aides said the private probation bill, which was the subject of a scathing state audit, is the only major bill Deal will be vetoing. Critics say the measure would have allowed private probation companies to conceal details of their dealings from the public.
Tuesday is the last day Gov. Deal can veto or sign bills into law. And some of the most controversial bills from the legislative session are still awaiting his signature. These include a bill that would make Georgia the first state in the nation to force welfare and food stamp recipients suspected of drug abuse to submit to drug tests. There’s also a bill that would allow officials to erect a monument to the Ten Commandments at the state Capitol, which the legislature’s counsel cautions might result in a lawsuit. Another bill on his desk governs how private probation companies oversee Georgia prisoners.
Georgia’s controversial gun bill was signed into law Wednesday at an American Legion pavilion in Ellijay. And not a moment too soon for House Speaker David Ralston, who faces a serious primary challenger in less than a month.
One of the candidates at the top of the Georgia GOP’s ticket this year is 71 years old. That’s Governor Nathan Deal. He faces a 38-year-old Democratic challenger, Jason Carter. And in the contentious U.S. Senate race, Democrat Michelle Nunn has used a highly-visible TV campaign ad to show off her young family as her older Republican opponents duke it out for the primary. But many Republicans say the Democratic candidates’ youth won’t be as much of a factor in the midterm elections later this year. That’s partly because turnout in nonpresidential, off-year elections skews older.
Some call it the “guns everywhere” bill, but it does not quite cover everything. Legislators passed “The Safe Carry Protection Act” in the final hours of this year’s legislative session. They did not, however, include an effective date anywhere in the nearly 30 page document that cleared the House and Senate.
The Young Democrats of Georgia will be holding their annual conference April 11-13 in Columbus, and notably one of the key speakers is a young Democrat himself. Jason Carter is the 38-year-old Democratic gubernatorial campaign, and he will be headlining a special awards dinner at the conference. Organizers say the weekend events are geared toward whipping up excitement among the party’s youth, in the hopes they will campaign for the candidates and come out and vote in November.
A bill making it harder for employers to pay women less than men in comparable jobs died in the U.S. Senate Wednesday when Senate Republicans derailed the Paycheck Fairness Act, a Democratic bill curbing paycheck discrimination against women. A new study finds that nationally, women in full-time jobs earn 77 cents on average for every dollar men make.
One of the most controversial bills awaiting Governor Nathan Deal’s signature is one that would expand where guns can be carried. The bill took a circuitous path through the legislature, picking up provisions, then losing them. Later two gun bills were combined, and the measure went back and forth between the two chambers. So what would the new law look like? It might be easier to start with what it won’t include: a provision known as campus carry. Gun advocates have been pushing for the right to bring firearms on university campuses. But college presidents, the state’s Board of Regents and others oppose that provision, and it was dropped.